Ferry with 476 people on it , including 325 high school students , was sailing to the island of Jeju in the south of the country when it sent an emergency call on Wednesday morning due to start leaning to one side , said Department of Public Safety and Administration of South Korea (ROK ) .
Park Hye -rang , a local coast guard official , said by telephone that 147 passengers have been rescued so far , but he did not provide further details . The photos in the local media showed that the ship tilted to one side , partly submerged hull , while the number of helicopters flying over it and a number of rescue boats and a small boat was covered with an orange tarp nearby.
The students came from a high school in the city of Ansan , near Seoul . They were on their way to Jeju island for a four- day trip . The ship left the port of Incheon , in western Seoul , on Tuesday night .
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A total of 18 helicopters and 34 rescue boats have been sent to the area , said Lee Gyeong - og , a top official of South Korea , in a televised news conference . He said , President Park Geun - hye has ordered rescue operations to prevent casualties .